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Our Team

Julie Engelbert

Julie Engelbert


Julie Engelbert has served the VanGorden community since 2017 and has been in education since 2005. Prior to being a principal, she served as the assistant principal at VanGorden, a curriculum specialist and a classroom teacher.

She enjoys spending quality time with students, providing professional development to staff and creating strong relationships with VanGorden families and the community. Julie can be reached at 

Jessica Carrelli

Jessica Carrelli

Assistant Principal

Jessica Carrelli has served the VanGorden community since 2018, first as an Innovation Specialist, and now as an Assistant Principal. She has been working in early childhood and elementary education since 2005. Jessica has a passion for gifted education, personalized learning, and educational technology.   

Caitlin Huxel

Innovation Specialist

Caitlin Huxel provides teachers with professional development and coaching related to Lakota’s initiatives on innovation and personalized learning. Caitlin also supports curriculum and instructional design and delivery, and the evolution of spaces such as the Innovation Hub to transform the learning experience for students. 
Caitlin collaborates regularly with other Lakota Innovation Specialists and with curriculum and technology departments to impact the K-12 learning experience for students.

Dawn Roth

Office Manager

Dawn Roth works with parents, students, and staff to ensure the VanGorden office runs smoothly and efficiently on a daily basis.

Some of Dawn’s responsibilities include sending email notifications to parents, budgeting and ordering for the building, monitoring facility usage, and maintaining school calendars and website content.

Rachel Smith


Rachel Smith has served VanGorden Elementary School since 2016 and is a proud graduate of Lakota Local Schools. Prior to starting at Lakota, she served as a counselor at the elementary and junior high level for several other local school districts. She holds a BA in Psychology, a Masters in Social Work and licensure in School Counseling.

Rachel’s mission is to help students feel successful both academically, socially and emotionally. She provides classroom lessons, small group counseling and short-term individual counseling. Rachel loves partnering with students and families to meet students’ individual needs, and can be reached at

Mike Steele


Deputy Mike Steele who worked for the Ohio Highway Patrol and the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department before retiring and joining the SRO program in 2021.

Deputy Mike enjoys talking with kids about themselves and their personal goals, and about safety, bullying, treatment of their peers. He works to visit every classroom to talk about topics that concern students and get to know them better.

Deputy Mike is usually present at morning drop-offs or afternoon pick-ups, and during the school day, he walks the hallways and serves as a lunchroom and recess monitor. He can be reached at

Michele Toelke

Registered Nurse

Michele Toelke has been the Registered Nurse in the VanGorden Clinic since 2012.  Her main goal is to ensure that students are healthy, safe, and able to learn. She is responsible for providing first aid care and health assessment, developing and monitoring care plans, coordinating the care of students with chronic or acute health conditions, communicating with school staff and parents to ensure the safety and well-being of students, administering medications, performing skilled nursing procedures, providing vision and hearing screenings and associated reporting, and educating and training staff on medical conditions and treatment/medication administration.  

Prior to working at Lakota, Michele worked in the hospital setting on a progressive care/step-down unit. Michele, as well as her three children, are proud graduates of Lakota!

Norine Veeneman


As a School Psychologist, Norine Veeneman works to support students' ability to learn and teachers' ability to teach. Norine has been with Lakota Local Schools since 2013, and most recently, she has served VanGorden Elementary and Creekside Early Childhood School. She holds a Bachelor’s in Psychology, Master’s in Education, and ODE licensure in School Psychology. Norine enjoys working and collaborating with students, parents, and staff to meet students’ academic, behavior, and social/emotional needs. Norine participates in building-level teams to support at-risk learners and she completes special educational evaluations.